Dilan Gunawardana reviews 'Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63' by Marcelino Truong, translated by David Homel

Dilan Gunawardana reviews 'Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63' by Marcelino Truong, translated by David Homel

Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63

by Marcelino Truong, translated by David Homel

NewSouth $37.99 pb, 274 pp, 9781551526479

Dilan Gunawardana

Dilan Gunawardana

Dilan Gunawardana is an arts journalist and graphic designer. He is a former Deputy Editor of Australian Book Review

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For those seeking a concise illustrative history of the Vietnam War, Marcelino Truong’s graphic novel, Such a Lovely Little War, is the ideal place to begin. Those seeking a graphic novel memoir as engaging as Art Spiegelman’s Maus (1986–92) or Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis (2001–2), will be unsatisfied.

‘Marco’, as the author is referred to in this book, is the son of a Vietnamese diplomat, Khánh, and his French wife, Yvette. His family, including his two older siblings, were yanked from the ‘cherry pie’ idyll of America in the early 1960s when Khánh was recalled to Saigon as the war between the North and South began to escalate. In addition to the historical events and atrocities that unfold around them, the Truongs must endure Yvette’s undiagnosed bipolar disorder, triggered by a mixture of anxiety for the safety of her family and a longing to return to ‘civilisation’.

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